National Retail Association chief executive officer Dominique Lamb has slammed the contradictory shopping advice given to consumers by the Queensland Government, as well as its unclear trading guidelines.
The state government said on Wednesday it recommended shoppers not shop online to reduce the amount of delivery workers moving through the community just a day after recommending people shop online to reduce movement in stores.
Lamb also said retailers can’t get a straight answer about their legal obligations, with the Queensland Health website giving different advice than the official health directive, which is again different to comments made by the chief health officer.
“The Queensland Government is taking no responsibility for the damage they are inflicting on small businesses,” Lamb said. “By doing the proper paperwork, they would give business owners the opportunity lawfully reduce their expenses, which would make it easier for them to close their doors. “But instead, the Government gives vague, weak and contradictory advice, which leaves business owners guessing about their rights and responsibilities. And now we hear police are interrogating customers and business owners in shopping centres, demanding to know why they are there.
“Sending out the police to enforce vague and constantly changing directives is unreasonable, heavy handed and grossly unfair to business owners who have borne the brunt of this debacle.”
The comments come after Queensland fell into lockdown last week – a decision which the ARA predicted will increase the monetary impact on the broader retail industry to $12 billion.
According to Lamb, if people are not allowed in shopping centres, the Government should order them closed and pay appropriate compensation to business owners who will still need to pay rent and staff.
Queensland retailers have “had enough”, Lamb said, and have done everything in their power to support the fight against Covid-19.
“Perhaps they could give just a moment’s consideration to the damage their constant backflipping and contradictions are doing to the morale and viability of Queensland businesses,” Lamb said.